Mail to Your Legislator’s State House Address when the Legislature is in session. (January – June in odd numbered years; January – April in even numbered years) She will be sure to receive it in a timely fashion. Letters should be addressed as follows:

The Honorable John Jones
Maine House of Representatives
State House station #2
Augusta, ME 04333
(Salutation: Dear Rep. Jones)

The Honorable Susan Smith
Maine State Senate
State House Station #3
Augusta, ME 04333
(Salutation: Dear Sen. Smith)

State the intent of your letter immediately. Try to give him as much information as possible about the bill—and your opinion about it—in the first paragraph. If possible, state the name of the bill, the L.D. number, the committee to which the bill has been referred for public hearing, and the status of the bill (when, for example, a public hearing was or will be held.) Here’s a sample first paragraph:

Dear Representative Jones,
I am writing to urge your support of L.D. XXX, An Act to Fund the Toxics Monitoring Program, which will be presented for public hearing before the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee next Friday, February 10th.

Give a little background about yourself. Tell her why you are interested in this bill. Explain, in your own words, why the bill is important to you and how it will affect you and other citizens like you. If possible, give a brief anecdote from personal experience that conveys how the bill will correct (or create) problems for you and other Maine people.

Be short and to the point! A single page letter that gets your point across in a clear, concise, and direct way is the most effective. Legislators get lots of letters and they will appreciate, and remember, those that get to the point fast (3-4 paragraphs are sufficient.) Letters don’t have to be typed: neatly handwritten ones are just as effective.

Be sure to provide your name and address on the letter. Envelopes can get lost, so be sure to include your address and phone number under your signature. This will ensure your legislator has the ability to get back to you. Also, it will let him know that you live and vote in his district.

Try to follow up your letter with a phone call. Though you can try to reach the legislator at home during the weekend, it’s often more effective to give a quick call to the State House to leave a recorded message that will be delivered to her desk . Say “I’m calling Senator Smith to make sure she received my letter concerning L.D. XXX, “an Act to Protect Maine’s Forests.” Leave your name and the phone numbers where you can be reached during the day and evening. If you don’t receive acknowledgement of your letter and/or call, within 2 to 3 days, don’t be shy: write or call again until you do. Messages for Legislators can be left at the following toll free phone numbers:

Representatives: 1-800-423-2900
Senators: 1-800-423-6900

Send a “quick-hit” postcard as a reminder. Just before the bill is scheduled for a vote on the floor of the Legislature, send a quick hit post card as a final reminder of your support (or opposition) to the bill. Again, state your position and the L.D. number and title.

Is email effective? Email is a convenient way to communicate with legislators, but is it effective? The jury is still out on that question. Some legislators are more apt to use email than others. Some report being overwhelmed with emails and unable to read them all. However, any constituent contact is better than none at all.

Adapted from materials developed by the Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewall Street, Augusta, ME 04330